Thomas M. Miovas Jr. Posted September 1, 2010 Report Share Posted September 1, 2010 Well, OK, from the comments, it looks like Harriman is focused on efficient causation, which is one thing acting on another and that other thing doing something. That is not the broadest understanding of causation (it doesn't apply to man for example), but that is the way physics took hold and he's not questioning that. I'll have to read the book, but I'm first going to listen to "Induction in Physics and Philosophy" which contain Dr. Peikoff's solution to the problem of induction. For my example given above, I was taking the view that causation answers the question: What is it about this item of reality or this entity such that it acts the way it does (on it's own or after being acted upon)? For that perspective, the roundness of the ball leads to its rolling and the elasticity of its material leads to it bouncing. I know, a ball won't roll or bounce on its own without some outside force acting on it. I have a degree in physics and I am very familiar with efficient causation and the physicists David Harriman points out were masters of it. No doubt about it. As to the solution, the best way I can describe it is that it is an application of Miss Rand's ideas on concept formation and measurement omission leading to a universal concept. That is, it takes a contextual range, works on the concepts derived from the observations of that contextual range, and due to the open endedness of concepts, it therefore applies to all entities within that range. So that, in my example (since I'm not familiar with Harriman's), the fact that a range of small round objects (i.e. balls) share this similarity (balls are round), the actions of those in the range (baseballs, basketballs, golf balls, etc.) have "a universal similarity" and therefore can be integrated together. With the open endedness of concepts, it applies to any small round object (any ball or all balls) because that is the defining characteristic about balls that makes it possible for them to roll and bounce. In other words, the solution to the problem of induction is the same solution to the problem of universals -- observed similarities and measurement omission and conceptualized observations. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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